After only scoring 5 runs against the Texas Rangers over the past 3 games, the Rays are looking to get back on track with Rich Hill on the mound, with players on both teams wearing 42 to honor Jackie Robinson.
Tonight, we’ll all wear #42 pic.twitter.com/WTu88TK9oJ— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 15, 2021
The Revenge of Nick Solak
Rich Hill was able to get the first five batters of the game out, but in the 2nd inning grooved a 91 mph fastball that Solak crushed for the first run of the game.
To be honest, it seemed as if all hope was lost for the Rays, especially in the 3rd inning after Hill loaded the bases with 2 outs, but he got Adolis Garcia to ground out for the last out and end the threat.
The Rays responded in the bottom of the 3rd inning with a run of their own. Mike Brosseau doubled and Fransisco Mejia singled to put runners on the corners with nobody out. Austin Meadows singled home a run, but that would be it for the Rays as they would tie it at 1. Good to get some runs early, but the frustration is still palpable.
The tie didn’t last long, as Texas had an answer in the top of the 4th inning, first by a lead off single by Nate Lowe. Rich Hill got Nick Solak to ground out, and was ahead of Charlie Culbertson 0-2, but Culbertson took a great slider from Rich Hill and crushed it for a 2-run HR.
The back and forth continued into the bottom of the 4th after Manuel Margot doubled & then stole third! It was a brave move, especially with two outs, but one that I approved of. (I still liked the steal of home in the World Series).
Mike Brosseau was down 0-2 on two fastballs, but was ready for the 3rd one that Jordan Lyles threw and tied the game for the Rays.
<Insert Nick Solak sigh here>
Rich Hill left in the 5th inning after issuing a walk to Joey Gallo, leaving with 4.1 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 Ks. Manager Kevin Cash went to RHP Andrew Kittredge to try and induce the double play ball, AND HE DID, but it was hit right to 1B Yandy Diaz, and he was only able to get the out at 1B. Kittredge hit Nate Lowe on the toe to put two runners on with two outs and Nick Solak up. Solak didn’t hit a hard hit ball by any means, but found the hole and scored Joey Gallo from second base.
That was hit at a scoring 80.8 MPH
Rays had some close calls on defense and offense. In the top of the 6th inning, Leody Tavares hit a 100.6 mph line drive, trailing away from Manuel Margot, that had a .560 xBA according to Baseball Savant, but Margot got a great read & jump on it and tracked it down for the out.
On offense, Brandon Lowe got a 3-1 fastball and drove it to deep left-center field for an out, but it was hit for 100 MPH that went 387 feet for an out.
The Brett Phillips Experience
In the bottom of the 7th, Brett Phillips got a 4 pitch walk, then moved to 2nd when Rangers’ pitcher Wes Benjamin walked Randy Arozarena. On a pitch to Brandon Lowe, Rangers’ catcher Jose Trevino tried to pick off Brett Phillips at 2nd, but instead threw it away into center field, moving Phillips to 3rd. Center fielder Leodys Tavares tried to nab Phillips at 3rd and HE threw it away, scoring Phillips and moving Arozarena to 3rd.
A run is a run, right? Might come off of defensive errors instead of offense, but we’ll take it!
Rays tie 4-4!
Great to tie the game, but that would be it for the Rays, as Joey Wendle would strike out with the bases loaded.
Ryan Thompson came on in the 8th inning and just decimated the Texas Rangers’ batters with insane sliders.
Ryan Thompson, 81mph "Two Time Zone" Slider...and Sword. ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/D3ON7xnEG3— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 16, 2021
Diego Castillo did the same thing in the 9th inning, sitting the Texas Rangers’ batters down 1-2-3.
After Kittredge, the Rays’ bullpen did well with a combination of Springs, Thompson and Castillo going 3.0 IP with 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, & 4 Ks.
Rays had a chance in the 9th with Yandy Diaz on third base and Joey Wendle on first with 2 outs, but Margot struck out on a foul tip to send this to extras.
Man I really don’t like this extra innings rule. Maybe it’s because the Rays are currently 0-2 so far with this or maybe its because this type of stuff keeps happening:
Rangers take a 6-4 lead off of a Adolis Garcia HR. Woof.
That would be the final, as the Rays couldn’t finish it off with a Brosseau flyout, and then an Adames and Tsutsugo strikeout lookings on brutal calls.
Rays lose the series to Texas, and fall to (5-8) on the season, and look to get back on track on a six game road trip against the New York Yankees and Kansas City Royals. First game is tomorrow at 7:10 PM. Rays are 0-3 in extras. They lost 3 times total in extras all year last year.
Final in extras— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 16, 2021